According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation the number of domestic violence incidents reported by law enforcement has increased by 31.8% over the last 10 years. A 24-hour snap shot of domestic violence related services in Oklahoma shows 238 adults and children found refuge in emergency domestic violence shelters, 54 adults and children were living in transitional house programs designed specifically for domestic violence survivors, 324 adults and children sought non-residential advocacy and services and 314 Domestic violence hotline calls were answered (that is 13 calls every hour for 24 hours!)
Domestic violence occurs when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. Power does not exist in a vacuum. In examining domestic violence, we must consider the role of the culture, ethnicity, social class, immigration status, gender, religion, history, sexual orientation, level of education, etc. as it affects our worldview. Churches have played an influential role in creating the gender based assumptions of power that permeates our culture.
As Naomi R. Goldenberg writes, "Images of God dictate who will feel worthy in society and who will feel inferior, who will be respected and who will be despised, who will get easy access to the literal material goods of culture and who will have to fight for those same goods."
Special music this Sunday will include an arrangement by Sweet Honey and The Rock and an original song written by me that tells some of my own story. Join me as I explore the theological context of interpersonal violence as exhibited in domestic abuse.